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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    There are SOOOOOO many resources out there to help you become a better teacher or dancer -- and so many "teachers" don't ever bother to check them out. I'm not saying you need to get a degree in teaching, but would it kill some of these people to read an article? Watch a video?
    How do we know they don't? I know people who go to all and every workshop under the sun and they STILL CAN'T DANCE. But they teach, oh, yes they do. And I've also seen good student material come out of such teacher's classes. So what is right? It's a bit of a riddle. Like where do flies go in winter...

  2. #42
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kharis View Post
    How do we know they don't?
    Well, I know because they often proudly announce it to me the minute they find out I'm a dancer.

    Or they post a message on tribe or livejournal or bhuz saying they aren't interested in learning anything more. You've seen those discussions. A few people suggest they go to a class, and suddenly we're all jealous haters and they flounce off.


    I know people who go to all and every workshop under the sun and they STILL CAN'T DANCE. But they teach, oh, yes they do. And I've also seen good student material come out of such teacher's classes. So what is right? It's a bit of a riddle. Like where do flies go in winter...

    Sahara asked: I'm interested to know what qualifications our teachers on here have, what one would expect a teacher to have, and current views on the quality of our teaching

    I think it's fairly simple: we should expect all teachers to be the best role model they can possible be. That means knowing as much as they can, being as good as they can be, and trying every way they know how to impart that knowledge into their students.

    Many of us surpassed our first teacher. I've had students who were really good dancers to begin with, and who took it upon themselves to buy dvds and go to workshops and engage other dancers in discussion about the dance. I'm still their teacher, but they really did most of the work outside of class. When they perform, I still feel pride, but I know that probably the most I did was inspire them to learn more on their own.

    And I have students who I've had for a couple of years who seem to show NO ability to perform, but they seem to adore class. They don't practice at home, but they love coming to class. The most I can do with them is hope that they learn some of the "cultural stuff" and develop an appreciation for the music and the dance.

    What's right? Well, I'll say it again: Be the best role model you can possible be. That's the ideal.

    I would ask this of all teachers -- "What's you weak point in either dancing or teaching? What skills do you think need work?" Now go work on those. Re-evaluate every month or so.

    Yes, bad teachers CAN turn out good students, but that's not the IDEAL we would hope for. If you have a child, wouldn't you want that child to have the best teachers you can find? I don't think too many of us would choose a crappy teacher for our kids on the off-chance that said teacher might possibly inspire the genius in our little darling?

    Not sure about the flies -- I think they hibernate? LOL

  3. #43
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    A couple of thoughts
    - how would you determine whether someone was a poor teacher? Is it their inability to pass on technique adequately, is it that they provide misinformation about the dance?

    - if it's inability to pass on technique, this is something that dancers who are serious about performing will quickly pick up on (word gets around!). If their students don't understand that their own technique is poor, how committed are they to their dance (do they watch dancers from outside their own school?) - because surely if someone's seriously keen on dancing, they'll quickly outstrip an inadequate teacher, and move on?

  4. #44
    Member Ahimsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adiemus
    if it's inability to pass on technique, this is something that dancers who are serious about performing will quickly pick up on (word gets around!). If their students don't understand that their own technique is poor, how committed are they to their dance (do they watch dancers from outside their own school?) - because surely if someone's seriously keen on dancing, they'll quickly outstrip an inadequate teacher, and move on?
    Unfortunately adiemus, I think that sometimes the most committed of students will STILL attend a poor BD class even if they are not too impressed with the teacher. Why? Because that's all their area provides and they would rather attend that class and get some practice in rather than not attending a class at all. I have heard this from several students and am as suprised as you that they would even consider paying their money to them if they were unhappy with them. But they enjoy dancing. They enjoy being with other women who enjoy the dance. And they are willing to put up with mediocre teaching for this reason.

  5. #45
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adiemus View Post
    - if it's inability to pass on technique, this is something that dancers who are serious about performing will quickly pick up on (word gets around!).
    Adiemus, word only gets around if you're in a big belly dance community - some towns have only one or two belly dance teachers.

    Also if you're a beginner who has never been to any other classes, you may not realise how bad your teacher is. But remember, students get attached to their teacher.

    I know some students who've been going to a particular teacher for years. Yes, they've looked at belly dance videos and attended workshops, and you'd think that would make them think - but what they think is, their wonderful teacher is right and those videos are rubbish!

  6. #46
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    So...what makes a 'bad' teacher, in your opinion?

    For me, it's a combination of - inability to convey movements to students, lack of knowledge about the dance (esp. cultural background),

    ...and all those horrid habits that some teachers have (probably in every type of education) - hanging on to students even if the student has reached the limit of what the teacher can teach, not passing on information about other workshops (especially of international teachers), getting catty if a student asks questions about other styles or how to extend herself, inappropriate remarks about students (things they can't change such as height or personality), favouritism etc

    I do know students will stay with a teacher even if he or she is a poor teacher - and for loads of reasons, but some of the reasons are also the reasons the teacher is a poor teacher! like cattiness about other teachers, or not passing on information about workshops etc.

  7. #47
    Junior Member Shahrahzad's Avatar
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    To get back to the original poster's query, I have a lifelong dance background in many western styles, danced pro for a while, attended college with a dance performance focus but also learned kinesiology, music, dance history, etc., taught other dance styles prior to learning belly dance dance. I then learned belly dance and studied for 5 years before starting to teach. I was nervous teaching BD as I felt a huge responsibility to do a good job, especially culturally, but even so I realize now had a lot to learn (still do). Since then I've taken an instructor course and studied with as many Egyptian teachers as I can, including travelling to Egypt.

    I think the previous dance experience helped in a lot of ways (class structure, time management, choreography, understanding theatrical presentation, being able to explain physical movements, and so on.) but there are so many things different from western dance in belly dance that the form itself is a whole new animal!

  8. #48
    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adiemus View Post
    So...what makes a 'bad' teacher, in your opinion?

    For me, it's a combination of - inability to convey movements to students, lack of knowledge about the dance (esp. cultural background),

    ...and all those horrid habits that some teachers have (probably in every type of education) - hanging on to students even if the student has reached the limit of what the teacher can teach, not passing on information about other workshops (especially of international teachers), getting catty if a student asks questions about other styles or how to extend herself, inappropriate remarks about students (things they can't change such as height or personality), favouritism etc

    I do know students will stay with a teacher even if he or she is a poor teacher - and for loads of reasons, but some of the reasons are also the reasons the teacher is a poor teacher! like cattiness about other teachers, or not passing on information about workshops etc.
    It is also possible to know everything about the culture from the inside and still be a bad teacher. I went to one who was native Egyptian and used to dance in a troupe that toured internationally - but she never broke down any movements for her western students. (she had the attitude that it ccan't be taught). She only cared about gettng more students annd putting on an annual show. Although I enjoyed the classes to begin with - I had already been dancing a year and the classes were fun - I realised that I was learning nothing. The dances were "bellydance linedance and the other students were so sloppy that I began to worry that I would ruin any technique I already had. And then it went downhill..........

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